Hull City 2-1 Fulham
By John May
Caleb Folan celebrates his historic winning goal for Hull City
Hull City marked their first appearance in English football’s top-flight by coming from behind to beat Fulham.
Substitute Caleb Folan side-footed home the winner after fellow sub Craig Fagan caught Fulham defender Paul Konchesky in possession in his own penalty area.
Brazilian striker Geovanni had brought the Tigers level before half-time with an exquisite curling shot round Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer.
Hull had earlier fallen behind to Seol Ki-Hyeon’s header.
A full house at the KC Stadium greeted the Premier League newcomers with a rapturous reception but it did not take long for Fulham to burst the bubble of euphoria.
Simon Davies let Hull off the hook when he planted his volley into the ground from Seol Ki-Hyeon’s dangerous cross.
Hull were then denied the lead when Mark Schwarzer dived full-length to claw away Geovanni’s header, and the Fulham keeper then combined with John Pantsil to block Ian Ashbee’s follow-up.
Fulham had the honour of scoring the first Premier League goal at the KC stadium, as Hull’s defending left a plenty to be desired.
Jimmy Bullard was given too much freedom to pick out his cross and he found Seol Ki-Hyeon, and the South Korean rose to plant a header wide of Boaz Myhil’s desperate dive.
Fulham were exploiting the space they were finding down the flanks and after Ashbee threw himself in front of Davies’ shot, a training-ground routine saw Bullard drive a corner to the edge of the box where Davies thumped a spectacular volley just over.
The Tigers were living dangerously as Bullard again found space down the right to pick out Zoltan Gera at the far post, only for the Hungarian to fluff his volley.
But from a position where the game might have been beyond them, Hull roared back to level with an exquisite goal from Geovanni.
The Brazilian picked up a loose ball 15 yards inside the Fulham half, drove forward and worked the ball on to his left foot to curl his shot around Schwarzer from 22 yards.
The goal gave Hull the confidence-booster they needed and they finished the first-half the stronger, with Nick Barmby finding space to power a header inches wide of the target.
Hull’s defending still had an air of naivety about it and when Bullard’s cross was flicked on Gera found himself in acres of space at the far post and with the assistant’s flag staying down the Hungarian wasted a golden opportunity from six yards.
The Tigers’ defenders were a threat in the Fulham area, though and Michael Turner rose to power a header inches over the bar.
Geovanni was guilty of an even worse miss, when he found himself with time and space but side-footed Nick Barmby’s cross wide from five yards out.
Hull were now playing without fear and substitute Peter Halmosi drilled the ball across goal and Richard Garcia met it first-time to draw another fine save from Schwarzer.
Hull manager Phil Brown’s substitutions paid dividends when the Tigers clinched a dream victory eight minutes from time.
Fulham defender Konchesky was caught badly in possession in his own penalty area by Fagan who crossed for Folan to tap into an empty net.
Hull boss Phil Brown: “The spirit of the club was there for everybody to see today, the fitness levels in the second half were incredible.
“Before the game we said that Fulham didn’t travel well last season and we tried to exploit their weaknesses.
“I’m happy because there weren’t too many times last season we came from behind to win.”
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson refuses to blame Paul Konchesky for his mistake: “He made the sort of error he rarely makes and he understands he didn’t do the right thing in the situation.
“In the second half Hull used the long ball game and it disturbed our rhythm and we got sucked into that level.
“That’s no complaint towards Hull, but it meant we weren’t able to give the ball to our midfield players.”
Hull: Myhill, Ricketts, Turner, Anthony Gardner, Dawson, Garcia (Fagan 74), Ashbee, Boateng, Barmby (Halmosi 62), Geovanni, King (Folan 70).
Subs Not Used: Duke, Windass, Mendy, Marney.
Booked: Ricketts, Dawson, Fagan.
Goals: Geovanni 22, Folan 81.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Murphy (Andreasen 85), Ki-Hyeon (Nevland 85), Bullard, Gera, Zamora (Dempsey 81).
Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Teymourian, Stoor, Kallio.
Goals: Ki-Hyeon 8.
Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).
BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Hull City’s Geovanni 8.55 (90 minutes).
Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport’s Player Rater after the match has finished.